USA*Engage Urges Congress to Oppose New Unilateral Sanctions on Iran

Monday, 18 September 2006
“While there is an urgent need to address the serious issues raised by the current regime in Iran, many of the proposed changes to the U.S. sanctions program are counterproductive and should be opposed,” the groups wrote. “At this time, new legislation would seriously damage the ongoing joint efforts to influence the Iranian regime, remove vital flexibility from the President and drive a wedge between the United States and our allies.”
In the letter, the groups expressed opposition to provisions included in H.R. 282 and S. 333, which would disrupt multilateral diplomacy by taking attention away from the behavior of the Iranian regime and instead inappropriately refocusing it on international business entities operating in Iran, crippling consensus building with important U.S. allies.
“Imposing tougher sanctions at this time would simply undermine current multilateral efforts,” said Bill Reinsch, President of the NFTC and USA*Engage Co-Chair. “New legislation that would adopt a unilateral approach would be counterproductive at this point and would diminish cooperation with our allies and within the UN Security Council.”
In June, USA*Engage commended the U.S. Senate for voting down an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act of FY 2007, which would have also imposed greater unilateral sanctions on Iran. That vote came days after Administration officials met with a group of Senators to discuss policy towards Iran.  Following the defeat of the amendment, the Senate approved a resolution supporting the State Department’s diplomatic initiative regarding Iran to end the current impasse over Iran’s nuclear program.
Reinsch concluded, “We must give international negotiations their greatest chance to succeed.  Congress should refrain from taking action that would disrupt this process.”
Read the letter

USA*Engage ( is a coalition of small and large businesses, agriculture groups and trade associations working to seek alternatives to the proliferation of unilateral U.S. foreign policy sanctions and to promote the benefits of U.S. engagement abroad. Established in 1997 and organized under the National Foreign Trade Council (, USA*Engage leads a campaign to inform policy-makers, opinion-leaders, and the public about the counterproductive nature of unilateral sanctions, the importance of exports and overseas investment for American competitiveness and jobs, and the role of American companies in promoting human rights and democracy world wide.
The National Foreign Trade Council ( is a leading business organization advocating an open, rules-based global trading system. Founded in 1914 by a broad-based group of American companies, the NFTC now serves hundreds of member companies through its offices in Washington and New York.